Department of Energy

Unleashing A World of Quantum Opportunities

November 8, 2018

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Quantum Link: Building the U.S. Quantum Superhighway
Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab, and the University of Chicago are building a 30-mile quantum network to "teleport" information. 

Moore’s law is bringing us to the physical limits of conventional computing. Thankfully, the DOE National Labs and world-class researchers specialize in breaking boundaries and opening possibilities.

Like in quantum computing, the next frontier in the Information Age.

Working with our interagency partners, the Department of Energy (DOE) is striving to advance that frontier.

Many of these partners will assemble this week at the Quantum Summit at the University of Chicago.  The even is hosted by the Chicago Quantum Exchange, and includes representatives from DOE – including Argonne and Fermilab, its two premiere Chicagoland National Labs – the Department of Defense, the U.S. National Institutes of Standards and Technology, and technology leaders including IBM, Microsoft and Alphabet.

The Summit will cover a range of topics, including research collaborations, workforce development, and investments in quantum science and technology.

In September, the Department announced $218 million in funding for 85 research awards in Quantum Information Science (QIS). Scientists at 28 institutions of higher learning and nine DOE National Laboratories will tackle developing hardware and software for a new generation of quantum computers, synthesizing and characterizing new materials with special quantum properties and probing the ways in which quantum computing and information processing can provide insights into dark matter and black holes.

The White House held a summit on quantum science in September with government and research and industry leaders. The House of Representatives also unanimously passed a National Quantum Initiative, which if enacted, would provide $1.275 billion for quantum research over the next decade.

Argonne and Fermilab are both deeply engaged in the Chicago Quantum Exchange, along with the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  A number of projects are underway, including a DOE-supported effort to develop a quantum network between Argonne and Fermilab.

That network will “teleport” information across the 30-mile distance between the two labs, and is expected to be among the longest in the world to send secure information using quantum physics. It offers a completely new way to send information and will a testbed for developing the science and technology for new quantum possibilities.  

QIS offers a way around – and over and perhaps even through – those barriers since they use the distinct behaviors of quantum systems to run calculations and solve problems in distinct and potentially swifter ways than conventional, classical computers.

As such, it offers a world of applications in areas ranging from advanced drug development to materials design at the atomic level to calculations of molecular catalysis to advances in basic physics.

QIS offers all that more. It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching. Not just for answers to our questions, but also to discover new questions.

As the nation’s leader in supercomputing, the Department of Energy is pleased to be leading the way to opening the quantum frontier, and it worlds of possibility.